Awareness of substance misuse

Awareness of substance misuse


A recent NHS report found that 24% of pupils in Years 7-11 had taken drugs, and both legal and illegal drug use amongst young people is widespread. Awareness of substance misuse is, therefore, essential for anyone who works with young people. Learn about the most commonly misused substances, the reasons why young people take drugs, and the effects on health. Understand how schools can help prevent substance misuse, and how to encourage a responsible attitude to legal substances. 

Learning outcomes


  • You will understand what constitutes ‘substance misuse’ and the most commonly used substances – both legal and illegal
  • You will know the effects of substance misuse on physical and mental health, and behaviour
  • You will be made aware of the reasons why some young people try drugs and misuse substances, and the links between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and substance misuse in later life
  • You will be able to talk to children and their families about the harmful effects of substance misuse, and how to make healthy choices when it comes to legal substances like alcohol and caffeine 


Advantages of this course


  • According to the charity Young Minds, over 200,000 children in England live with at least one parent, carer, or adult who is alcohol dependent. Studies have shown that children who grow up with an alcoholic parent run a higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves. This course explores the different reasons why a young person might be more likely to misuse substances, and the importance of teaching resilience and health coping mechanisms. 
  • Whatever the cause or reason, the effects of substance misuse can be devastating. Especially for young people. The materials in this course consider the effects of drugs and alcohol. 
  • Anyone working with young people needs to be aware of the problems associated with substance misuse, and the signs to look out for. The signs and symptoms will be outlined in the presentation section of this lesson.
  • Additional activities and further reading materials encourage you to reflect on your learning and conduct your own research
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